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Get Started with the Salesforce Platform

Learning Objectives 

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe the Salesforce Platform.
  • List benefits of the Salesforce Platform.
  • Locate the Salesforce Sample App Gallery to view platform features and functionality.

Prerequisite

If you’re eager to start learning how to develop on the Salesforce Platform, you’re in the right place. However, if you haven’t taken the Salesforce Platform Basics module, go do that now. That module provides the foundation for what you learn even more about in this module, including terms, use cases, and an overview of the Salesforce architecture.

Audience

This module is for anyone in any role who wants to learn about methods for developing on the Salesforce Platform. We show you a broad overview of how platform tools, solutions, and customizations can address common and unique business requirements. Check out the Resources section below to learn more about Salesforce administrator (admin) and developer roles.

What Is the Salesforce Platform?

The Salesforce Platform is the app development platform that extends your customer relationship management (CRM) system’s reach and functionality. While it’s impressive for many reasons, the most significant one is that it comes with so many out-of-the-box features and so much functionality that you can get started using the platform without writing much, if any, code. The Salesforce Platform’s low-code tools and automation make it easy for anyone in your organization to create effective and secure apps. That means your admins can create all kinds of nifty functionality, while your coders can focus on what they do best—customize features and write more complex apps.

Platform Building Blocks

The Salesforce Platform is the foundation for a suite of technologies that help you build apps and use prebuilt components to connect your teams around your customers. This portfolio of products and services is called the Customer 360. The Customer 360 is an integrated customer relationship management (CRM) platform that transforms companies by uniting their marketing, sales, commerce, service and IT teams with a single, shared customer view. So, no matter how a customer engages with Salesforce, they have a great experience. 

The Salesforce Customer 360 Platform wheel.

The platform not only forms the foundation of core Salesforce products, including Sales Cloud and Service Cloud, but it also lets you build your own functionality. While you already know that you can customize existing Salesforce offerings, did you know that you can use the platform to build something from scratch that meets a specific business need? Use the platform to build and customize tools, apps, and services to do nearly everything that your organization needs. The Salesforce Platform makes it easy to build secure, intelligent apps and automation across its services that can be scaled throughout your organization. 

Develop on the Platform

Here are just a few ways the Salesforce Platform can help you build apps and functionality for your business. 

  • If you need to build a custom business application for your company or customer, the core Salesforce Platform makes it easy to develop a custom data model and application that works on desktop and mobile.
  • If you need to build a customer-facing application where traffic could fluctuate unpredictably, the Heroku platform’s elastic scalability is just what you need.
  • If you want to update data or integrate with other applications inside or outside of your organization, or manage customizations of your metadata, the Salesforce APIs can help you do that and much more.
  • If your organization needs a better way to predict sales or product success, or know how likely customers are to buy a certain product, the Salesforce Einstein suite of powerful artificial intelligence (AI) tools can help you gather unique data and insights to predict business outcomes.
  • If your organization needs a way to address a business need on the go, the Mobile SDK suite of technologies helps you develop native, HTML5, and hybrid apps for mobile devices that have the same security and reliability as the Salesforce app.

Depending on the kinds of customizations you build, you may interact with Salesforce developers who write code in other parts of the Salesforce ecosystem, like Slack developers, MuleSoft developers, or Tableau developers. The Salesforce Developer: Quick Look module describes different types of Salesforce developer roles and ways they interact with the platform.

Salesforce Sample Apps

In the rest of this module, we show you how many of the Salesforce Platform’s cool tools and technologies are built and how they function by exploring the Dreamhouse sample app from the Salesforce Sample App Gallery. The apps in the Sample App Gallery demonstrate how out-of-the box functionality can be combined with custom functionality to build solutions that make a business unique. 

To learn more about the Sample App Gallery and the apps in it, visit the Quick Start: Tour the Sample App Gallery module.

Sample app gallery Trailhead badges.

You probably know that it isn’t easy to build apps like these from scratch. And taking on these types of projects in real life can involve long, complicated lists of functional requirements and the implementation of special integrations for your company’s business data. Working by yourself, it could take you months to get something out the door. So, let's look at how the Salesforce Platform can help you quickly build complex business applications like these.

Install the Dreamhouse App

We won’t be checking any steps in this module, but we encourage you to follow along and explore the Dreamhouse app. To do this, you need to install the Dreamhouse package in a new Trailhead Playground. Follow the steps below to launch a playground and install the package. 

Note

Note: 

If you installed the Dreamhouse app in a Trailhead Playground when you completed the prerequisite badge, Salesforce Platform Basics, you can use the same playground for this module. Just scroll to the bottom of this page, click Launch, and select your playground that has the Dreamhouse app installed.

To create a new Trailhead playground: 

  1. Click your profile picture in the upper right corner of Trailhead.

  2. Click Hands-On Orgs.

  3. Click Create Playground. You receive an email when your new playground is ready. It may take a few minutes for your new playground to be created.

  4. Open the email you received telling you about your new playground and click the link to launch your playground.

  5. Click Reset Password. Type a new password and click Change Password.

  6. Launch your Trailhead Playground by scrolling to the bottom of this page and clicking Launch.

To install the Dreamhouse sample app:

  1. From the App Launcher (App Launcher), find and select Playground Starter.

  2. If you don’t see the Playground Starter app, visit the Install a Package or App to Complete a Trailhead Challenge article on Trailhead Help.

  3. If you see the Playground Starter app, click the Install a Package tab.

  4. Paste 04t3h000004bhxlAAA into the Package ID field and click Install.

  5. Select Install for All Users, then click Install.

  6. When it prompts you to Approve Third-party access, click Yes and click Continue. This provides updated information to the map in the Dreamhouse app.

  7. When the installation completes, click Done.

  8. From the App Launcher (App Launcher), search for and select the Dreamhouse App.

Finally, import sample data for the Property and Broker objects:

  1. In the Dreamhouse app, click the Settings tab.

  2. Click Import Data.The Settings tab showing the Import Data button.

Resources 

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